Polka Dot Cottage

Book Review: Knitting Reimagined

Posted August 20th, 2014 by

Book Review: Knitting Reimagined

I think that the moment I was tempted to call this book a “wackadoodle knitting book” is the moment that I confirmed with absolute certainty that I am not of the “high fashion” world. (Ha! Like there was any doubt!)

In Knitting Reimagined, Nicky Epstein presents 25 projects that, as they say on the back cover, “push the boundaries of what knitwear can be.” This not an understatement. Just look at the front cover. The featured sweater combines fair isle, lattice texture, and furry fringe. It’s really rather odd.

The designs in this book are certainly innovative, and there are really so so many techniques represented.

Book Review: Knitting Reimagined

These are some of the wackier projects, between the use of fur, and the braided stuff, and the oversized skull-based colorwork…

Don’t get me wrong. I would never choose to wear most of these pieces, however, that doesn’t mean I dislike the book. On the contrary, I find it fairly interesting, and I can think of ways to take some of these techniques and use them in ways that appeal more to my own sense of style.

Book Review: Knitting Reimagined

The use of texture to draw a picture here is interesting. I don’t like the shape of this sweater, or really even the picture they are drawing, but the technique could be used on anything. I mean, I could knit the Polka Dot Cottage logo into a pair of armwarmers or something using this technique.

Book Review: Knitting Reimagined

I don’t care for this asymmetrical garment, but I really like the woven i-cord. That could work on a more traditionally-shaped sweater, too.

Book Review: Knitting Reimagined

Ok, I’ll admit it. I actually like this project as-is. I’m not sure how it would look on someone who is not tall and skinny like the model, but I do like it.

So there’s your little peek inside Knitting Reimagined. I don’t want to sound too down on this book. If I didn’t like it at all, I wouldn’t review it. I’d just quietly donate it to my local library and you’d never even know I had it.

If you are a strictly by-the-pattern knitter, and you like simple and traditional designs, then you might want to pass on this one.

If you are an adventurous knitter who likes super unique designs, then this book was written for you.

If you don’t care for the more unusual runway looks, but you like learning new techniques and are bold enough to mix and match patterns (for example, your favorite sweater pattern combined with a woven technique from the book) then you will probably get something out of this book as well.

Buy the book at Amazon.com.

(The usual disclaimers apply re: books received, reviews given, and links provided.)

The Breezy Sounds of Late Summer

Posted August 17th, 2014 by

The Breezy Sounds of Late Summer, a new playlist from Polka Dot Cottage

This has been a strange August, in terms of the weather. We’ve barely exceeded 80 degrees most days, and the nights have often dipped into the 50s. There has been very little humidity, a fact which has me happily leaving all of the windows thrown open wide all day and all night. I can’t remember the last time I turned on my air conditioner.

No this has not been a typical New Jersey August in the least. In fact, it feels more like September in many ways, and that’s what I wanted to capture in my newest mix CD. It’s that feeling of impending autumn. Mellow and contemplative. A little windy. Cloudy. And yet not quite the end of summer.

School is still a few weeks away, and we probably have time for another beach trip, so I’m not throwing in the towel on summer just yet. But I am really enjoying these slightly chilly evenings and this mix makes a good soundtrack to that.

garden01

For the cover, I used a photo I took a few Septembers ago and added some graphic elements to make it look like a vintage album cover, complete with wear and tear.

I had so much fun doing the cover, in fact, that I made a few more just for kicks. There are no mixes to go with these. They’re just covers.

bog leaps

jumping flufy

I could do this all night. But I won’t :-)

Here’s what you’ll find on The Breezy Sounds of Late Summer:
1. The Mowgli’s – Emily (3:32)
2. David Wax Museum – Will You Be Sleeping? (3:28)
3. Ditty Bops – Breeze Black Night (2:59)
4. John Denver – Windsong (3:57)
5. Toad The Wet Sprocket – Windmills (3:46)
6. April Smith & The Great Picture Show – Can’t Say No (3:16)
7. Pink Martini – Sway (3:37)
8. Michael Bublé – Haven’t Met You Yet (4:04)
9. Grand Archives – Orange Juice (1:31)
10. Simon & Garfunkel – Cloudy (2:21)
11. The Innocence Mission – The Leaves Lift High (3:57)
12. Beck – Heart Is A Drum (4:31)
13. Elizabeth & the Catapult – Like It Never Happened (2:40)
14. K.S. Rhoads – If You Want Love (4:58)
15. James – Laid (2:36)
16. The Paper Kites – Bloom (3:31)
17. Van Morrison – Into The Mystic (3:27)
18. Gentlemen Hall – Sail Into The Sun (3:34)
19. Nick Gallant – Wanderlust (3:12)
20. Twin Forks – Cross My Mind (3:34)
21. Echosmith – Cool Kids (3:57)
22. The Postmarks – Summers Never Seem To Last (3:13)
23. The Association – Windy (2:56)

You can have a listen through the embedded player below, or (if you don’t see a player there) you can go directly to the playlist here.

The Breezy Sounds of Late Summer from lclarke522 on 8tracks Radio.

Now go pour yourself a cup of decaf, open a window, and enjoy the music!

TWiP: In the Dark of Night

Posted August 16th, 2014 by

The Week in Pictures

My absolute favorite time of day for photography is the morning. Twice I have done “a month of mornings” and I even devoted an entire year to it for my 2010 Project 365. I took a few morning shots this week, but I also got the itch for some night photography as well.

Neil has been in Ireland and England this week, and the boys and I have been taking our own small-scale vacations while he’s been gone. As I write, we are on our second mini-getaway, enjoying a night in a hotel about 30 minutes from home.

Earlier in the week, we spent a few days at my parents’ house. Two times while we were there I took my camera out during the very photogenic “blue hour,” played around with a few techniques (star bursts, light trails, bokeh…) and photographed my old home town.

There was also a Super Moon this week, so my camera saw much more than the usual amount of post-sunset action.

It’s nice to shake things up a little bit :-)

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. August’s theme is “Soul” based on the exercises in Alessandra Cave’s new book Shooting With Soul.)

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365: Soul 9/31 – Exercise 8: Home – One of my two favorite comfy little nooks.

Instagram: With so many trees in my front yard I can’t get an unobstructed shot of the moon. Close enough though :-)

Sunday

365: Soul 10/31 – Exercise 10: Self-Care and Pampering – A squirt of my current favorite perfume.

Monday

365: Soul 11/31 – Exercise 14 House Chores – Time to do the dishes…

Instagram: Boulevard Bokeh

Tuesday

Instagram: Good morning!

Instagram: *yawn*

365: Soul 12/31 – Exercise 37: Soft to the Touch – Cotton balls!

Wednesday

Instagram: Too cold for me! I lasted 5 minutes. 3 of those minutes were spent trying to push past my kids who were purposely blocking my escape route ;-)

365: Soul 13/31 – Exercise 19: Evenings – I went out with my sister tonight and took some pictures in our hometown.

Thursday

Instagram: Chatting with my husband who is in an airport in Ireland. (open windows, coffee, and technology in bed – this feels like the story of my summer mornings this year [and I like it])

365: Soul 14/31 – Exercise 13: Mornings – Ah, morning – my favorite time to take pictures! The light is always so pretty… This morning the kids and I are cleaning up after ourselves and leaving our "vacation home" (aka Mom and Dad’s House) where we’ve been hanging out for the last few days.

Friday

365: Soul 15/31 – Exercise 16: Something You Made – I was up late last night finishing the body of my stripey sweater. This is exciting to me, not because I am eager to wear this cardigan once the sleeves and button band are done, but because I needed to free the needle so I can use it to swatch for another project which I am eager to start.This sweater will keep while I do something new :-)

Instagram: Friday night hotel swim :-)

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Weekend Favorites

Posted August 15th, 2014 by

Well, folks, it’s another one-link week here in the Polka Dot Cottage Weekend Favorites Department. I guess that’s what happens when you spend your days being completely free of your usual schedule. Hey, it’s summer! It’s to be expected!

I did manage to spend some time on Flickr this week, though, so there’s a substantial mosaic. So many pretty pictures to catch my eye!

On Flickr

The mosaic below represents other people’s pictures that spoke to me this week. Be sure to click on the titles below the mosaic, if you want to know more about the image or the photographer behind it.

(follow me on flickr)

Weekly Favorites at Polka Dot Cottage

1. Kaffe Fasset goes Fair Isle, 2. Sew together purse in progress…, 3. My crazy wonky houses are ready to quilt! This quilt has blocks from everyone who has been a member of Bee Happy over the last four years. ❤️❤️❤️, 4. No day without a bird ;) #nodaywithoutabird #bird #cute #sweet #lovely #lovelysquares, 5. Untitled, 6. Dreamy, 7. Cathedral in Nîmes, 8. image, 9. Soft Landing, 10. I wish a wonderful mood to all of you, 11. Easter egg house., 12. :: june 24 ::, 13. From the garden, 14. букет из сада фей, 15. Traded the neighbors some of our strawberries for their sweet cherries. We each did our own picking. #homesteading, 16. My rug just needs 50cm more all around. I’m running out of old tshirts to cut up!! I also want to recover our headboard. And re paint the bedside drawers. And paint the walls. Pity it costs $$$$!, 17. empty chairs await, 18. 07.20.2014, 19. Untitled, 20. On my morning walk, 21. What do you mean I can’t live here?

Around the Web

I spend some time earlier in the week sharing my favorite crafty links through social media. And then I repeat them here on Fridays.

  • Want to Know What 200 Calories Looks Like? – from WiseGeek, via MyFitnessPal. WiseGeek photographed 200 calorie portions of a variety of foods. It’s interesting to compare how many apple slices you’d have to eat to get the same amount of calories in a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Have a lovely Friday!

TWiP: in the Pink

Posted August 9th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

This week’s mosaic is a lot brighter than last week‘s. I guess my quest to inject a little more light into my photos worked. There’s a lot more pink than usual. I’m not really a pink girly-girl at all, but I have to admit it’s growing on me here and there.

I even bought and wore a pink shirt this week. Whoa.

I feel like writing more here, but it’s late on Friday night, and my eyes are saying “no more! take us to bed!” I suppose I have no choice but to listen to them!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. August’s theme is “Soul” based on the exercises in Alessandra Cave’s new book Shooting With Soul.)

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365: Soul 2/31 – Exercise 1: Glimpses of You – I tried a lot of different artistic poses, but I think this one with the big wise guy in it is probably truest to life.

Instagram: It’s a multitasky Saturday night: listening to a podcast, working on a photo project on my laptop, and knitting a sweater. Oh! And instagramming ;-)

Sunday

365: Soull 3/31 – Exercise 2: Your Reflection – Stripey sweater in progress, complete with liquid soap smears on the mirror (#keepingitreal). Kind of wish I’d noticed that before I took off the sweater and put the tripod away ;-)

Monday

Instagram: Second coat. Or, oops I dribbled my nail polish onto the table.

Instagram: Ahhhhh.

365: Soul 4/31 – Exercise 32: Beachcombing – This is not "combing" so much as "flying through the air and blocking out the sun" but I like it :-)

Tuesday

365: Soul 5/31 – Exercise 4: Something You Collect – I didn’t set out to collect old cameras, but they seem to be finding *me* lately.

Wednesday

365: Soul 6/31 – Exercise 5: Books – The top two books were beach and/or hotel reads (loved them both). The rest are currently in rotation.

Thursday

365: Soul 7/31 – Exercise 6: Wardrobe and Style – I’ve made a lot of shirts out of vintage sheets in the last few years, and this was the first. I still wear it all the time :-)

Friday

365: Soul 8/31 – Exercise 7: What is in Your Bag?

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

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